Debate Over Government Credibility
The credibility of the Johnson administration promises to become a prominent issue in the 1968 presidential election campaign. The two candidates so far announced for the Republican nomination have been playing up the question in a manner that suggests a conviction that it can be exploited to their party's political advantage.
Gov. George Romney of Michigan told Oregon Republicans as long ago as Sept. 7, 1967, that the administration's “credibility gap” had become a “national embarrassment” and was not limited to the war in Viet Nam but extended also to law and order, civil rights, and fiscal matters. In Denver, Oct. 27, 1967, Romney assailed the President as “an expert in brainwashing” and said it was “time we realized (it).”
Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon asserted before a luncheon of Republican women in New York City, Jan. 27, shortly after North Korea's seizure of the intelligence ship Pueblo, that the country's long-range need was to “reestablish the credibility of American policy by re-establishing the credibility of American power.” Viet Cong penetration in force of all the major cities of South Viet Nam a few days later raised new doubts in American minds about the situation, military and political, actually prevailing in a nation to which the United States has become so heavily committed.